Need some suggestions - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Need some suggestions

I have a one year old Done named Oakie, he is a great dog. Loves his mama. In fact I can safely say I have never felt a connection with a dog like I have this one. Oakie has gone to two rounds of obedience training and listens very well 90% of the time. I plan on continuing his training however I will be looking for a different trainer, I think it is important I find someone with more experience with this breed. Our trainer is great and Oakie really likes her, she just breeds and shows shelties and well they are quite different from my boy. I apologize ahead of time if this gets lengthy.

I have made it my mission to make sure Oakie is well socialized. We live in a small development out of town, but I took him into town at least once a week for walks, we also went to any and every store where dogs are allowed. We do this and have done this weekly since he was maybe 4 months. I have different people meet him (slowly) and sometimes offer the treats I have packed, he has always done well in this regard. Except kids, he likes my kids but all others he is very concerned with. Barks, and growls. I know this all started when the neighbor boy who is special needs kicked at him and threw sticks at him (neighbor buy is not watched and wonders a lot). That said if the since parents don't watch the boy, Oakie stayed inside.

Now on to what I need help with, my husband and I have recently separated. The kids and I have moved into my parents, Oakie came here a lot as a pup so he is familiar with the place. It would have been nice for Oakie to stay in the home and yard he is use to but I am his person, until the day this dog dies he wants to be right next me. So, here we all are at my parents. My parents are very social. People are ALWAYS dropping by. Stopping in to say Hi, dropping stuff off, coming over for this, that and what have you. Oakie is freaking out.

He has now taken to growling at anyone that comes near me. My parents and kids are fine, but anyone else is sending him into stranger danger freak out mode. No amount of slow interactions, or treats or ignoring, or me keeping him on a leash in the house is working. This is stressing my parents out, as they are already taking on a lot letting us stay here and now I feel like everything people think about dobermans is just being reinforced. and I feel like all my work with him and time spent just is down the tubes.

Please help, I would love to hear what you veteran Dobe owners have to say, and if you have any suggestions. We have been here about a month now and time and getting use to his new environment doesn't seem to be helping any. -thanks

Last edited by melbrod; 09-26-2019 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Added paragraph breaks for readability
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 01:46 PM
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Well my first thought with your situation....is.....IT TAKES A VILLAGE..meaning everyone "especially the humans" have to know the rules and abide by them all the time.
But being that your parents are helping you out ......suspect you would feel uncomfortable asking them and company to adjust.
Do you have a quiet area that the dog can stay in when company arrives.........my dog Hoss............ when company arrive I have him in our hallway with a piece of metal grate covering the doorway. This allows him to see what going on........but keeps the humans far away from him until everyone settles in .
My dog has good manners but the humans are a pain in the azz......they bang on their chests encouraging him to jump up towards their face..........and then another friend always wants to lean down towards Hoss so he can lick her mouth........all it would take is for Hoss to jump up and it would knock her teeth out with his crown ........people really do not get it......Humans are rule breakers mostly because they do not know any better. These are powerful dogs ........sweet, nice, oh yeah.......but if something sets them off YOU have to be in control at all times ........so until things settle down when company arrives ......I would let your parents greet the company...........meanwhile keep the dog with you.....yet father away from the crowd so he has an opportunity to watch from a distance and eventually sense his family is safe along with keeping your company safe from injuries.
I am sure more will chime in on this topic..........hang in there......

Hoss
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 02:43 PM
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My 2 cents:

My guess is that at this point in your life, you are quite stressed. If Oakie is anything like my current boy, his emotions are directly tied to yours. A while back, I had 2 very invasive surgeries. I was in a lot of pain. McCoy would not leave my side. Any noise set him off. This was nothing that I encouraged. It was just what it was. As my health improved, his demeanor went back to normal.

You could try a professional canine behaviorist. Still... Not to be a downer, but I don't think your boy will stop guarding you until you are more comfortable. He is a Doberman who lives for one thing... His human.

I am not a behaviorist or vet, so this is just my opinion based on my experience.

Best to you and Oakie.
Keep us updated.

John
Portland OR
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 04:06 PM
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KG, Welcome to the DT Forum, albeit under difficult circumstances...

Oakie might be harboring a health issue, causing some pain and resulting in abnormal, bad behavior. This should be ruled out first.

I also agree with what 4x4 posted that Oakie's changed behavior might be linked to current or past stress from the separation and/or moving homes. Could there have been any traumatic incidents with your husband that might have precipitated Oakie's protective resource guarding of his "mama"?

Dobes that are socialized early, as yours appears to have been, should be either friendly with strangers if properly introduced. Our Eva is slower to warm up to strangers than our social butterfly, Spock ("everyone's friend"). Some members have Dobes that are reserved and not really people dogs, but not to the point of growling at anyone who comes near.


Ten Doberman Rules
Poke Everything.
It's New? Bark At It.
Moves? Chase It.
Doesn't Move? Smell It.
Liquid? Spill and Dribble It.
Treat or Food? Wolf It Down.
Not Food? Chew It Slowly, Be Quiet & Hide From Human.
A Toy? Shred & Destroy It.
Stuffed? De-Stuff It.
Bites You Back? Wrestle It!

Last edited by spocksdad; 09-26-2019 at 04:15 PM.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 04:28 PM
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Really, a month is not that long a time for him to adjust, given his age and how many changes he's had thrown at him in that time. New place to live, new lifestyle with people coming and going, no "dad" around, "grandparents" to adjust to...that's a lot of change for a young dog.

Do you think it is more that he is guarding you...resource guarding of his special person? Or that he is just uncomfortable and insecure in a new place with lots of changes and has more courage to be "aggressive" if you are nearby? Is he barking and carrying on the whole time you have company, or right when they come in, or basically just uncomfortable and growling when folks are near you? Does he show signs of separation anxiety...more destructive, whiny or anxious when you're not around him, for example? Resource guarding of you, separation anxiety (his mom is gone) or just basic insecurity in a new place could all make him cling and growl, etc., defensively, so you might have to do a bit of observing and thinking to try to figure out what is at the bottom of his behavior.

Like Di, I would say he really needs a safe space...a place that he can call his own and be comfortable in. I'm assuming he's not crate trained?? That would be one alternative, though it would probably take a fair amount of training and time to get him settled into one if he's never had experience being crated. I think I would try to find a place where he can see visitors coming in and moving around, and gate it off; let him have a bed in there, even feed him there. Of course, he shouldn't be there all the time...he'll need free run of the house (or whatever room you tend to plant yourself in, at least) when you don't have visitors (if he's up to it, he might still be a little young to be out loose alone) and ready access to you guys in general.

You definitely want him to be part of the action--I mean, he needs to see people coming and going, not just be shut off in a room somewhere--but he also needs to feel like he's got a safe place where people won't come too close unless he's ready for them. Don't make a big deal about asking him to "meet and greet" newcomers, and ask them to ignore him. Try not to get all worried and flustered when you see someone walk in because you're afraid he'll be over-reactive--he'll feed off your emotions and likely ramp it up even more--just act calm (as much as you can). Teach him a "go to place" (into his special area) and make it a nice, even fun, place for him to be.

I don't think leashing him and letting him cling to you the whole time you have company is the way to go here...by all means, leash him if you need some control when people walk in, but take him to his safe place and then put some separation between you two. He should be able to see you in general, but not actually cling to you or "guard" you.

Calmness from you is going to be key here...because if you are nervous about his behavior, he's going to figure it's the company you're nervous about. And react in a way that is to be expected if he thinks you and he are threatened.

Last edited by melbrod; 09-26-2019 at 04:46 PM.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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He is crate trained. Which he is in when I can't be with him or I need to give my full attention to something else. And so thats usually the end result, I crate him until the company leaves. However, I didn't and don't want him to have to be "locked away" every time someone comes. He really is a sweet boy once he warms up, that being said other than the kids and I he could care less if there were any other humans on the planet. He is not the social butterfly. Usually checks people out and then goes about his business. I do feel like people in general are either terrified of him or think he will behave exactly like a lab and they want to be up in his face. Ugh No one just lets him be him. Okay, so crating him it is. Hopefully with time people will either get the idea to leave him be and he will adapt to his new way of life here and settle down a bit. Funny how the dog I didn't want becomes such a important part of my life. (to clarify, this was the dog my husband has wanted since childhood, I was fine with a one eyed three legged rescue. but Oakie picked me and I'm so glad he did)
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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I told me kids when they stop thinking I’m funny at least the dog will still laugh at my jokes
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 08:03 PM
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I'd keep the crate where he can see what's going on. Work toward him feeling like a crate is a place to go if he feels uncomfortable, not just a place he HAS to go in if company shows up--work toward an open crate door, in other words. You could try teaching him to go a place, like a dog bed, when folks come over. I'm thinking along the lines of being able to calm himself down and be confident around strangers, not just that he has to be put away with his fear.

And make a point to people who come to visit to just ignore him and let him get comfortable at his own speed.

He's a handsome fellow. What was he doing in the second picture? Barking, yawning, snipping at the air....?
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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He has a dog bed, I will work on place. That’s actually something I had started before we made the move. At this point there is no way he would stay there if someone walked into the house but we will work on that. And he was yawning. Kids and I are always telling jokes and singing songs and he is always right in the mix so when we see that picture the kids say well Oakie laughed when I told this joke... and so on. He is such I good boy. Totally calm and relaxed laying in his dog bed by my feet as I type this. I LOVE my dog.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 06:32 AM
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Hi Kristy and welcome to DT from Indiana

I really don't know if this a problem that is easy to fix - if ever . The Doberman was breed to protect its owner and to be loyal . Oakie is just doing what a Doberman is suppose to do , to protect you . When somebody comes in he don't know , he's on guard . Story time now

back in the early 2,000, we had a pool here , lots of nieces and nephews , neighbors , family members in and out , sort of sounds like your place Yet Kasia was always on guard here , now some of the regulars , she would meet at the gate and circle and bark in enjoyment that her friends where here to play , yet all the others , no matter how many times they were here , she was doing her job , that is till I told her its OK then she would settle down , smell there hands then it was OK with her . With you and so many different people coming and going , Oakie is just being a Doberman .

Ali girl was the same way , Kasia and her would work together , but I was able to teach both -- Its OK , Now with Mr. Business , this is still a work in progress and the word OK , As soon as I let who ever in the back gate and he sees everything is OK with me then its OK with him , if this all makes since . He is very intimating to say the least and when somebody new is on HIS turf , then its game on

Most of what you wrote sounds like things that has happened here , Only know , its tuffer for us now , the pool is gone , the nephews and nieces have there own families and moved away , its only us around , I take him to town with me and he's out and about , yet this is his house .

There is also the possibility that he is under stress from the new place he's living In and the lose of a family member thats now not around may be adding to this .

So what to do ? I would work with the word - Its OK Oakie when people come in Or , just get your own place where its more settled down .

Best of luck

Doc
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Last edited by ECIN; 09-27-2019 at 06:34 AM.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 07:10 AM
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Oh...one more thing..........what I tell people when they visit is...........Hoss is invisible............visitors have heard it so many times now as I greet them ....they say.....
I know I know he's invisible...............but when my 2 rule breakers come over ........nope........I tell them no contact with my dog.
IMO if visitors are not going to honor my Dobe rules.......they do not get to interact with him...........these humans just do not understand how much work goes into training.....and the set backs that take place when they break my rules. I have had experiences when they promised not to do their deeds.......and then did it and just smile and laughed at me. They think I am silly to have all these rules. Again ...unless they own a breed like this they will never understand.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 07:36 AM
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Check out this site might be helpful for you.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 10:40 AM
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I think there are a few things going on here:

1. His age. He's at a very insecure teenage age. I can't tell you how many times I cried when my very well socialized super loveable male became this A'hole that barked, growled, stared at and lunged at people, dogs, animals.... Where did I go wrong? I stayed diligent and still took him places and when I knew he would react I would grab his attention and give him a treat to keep is attention so he would associate all of the bad things with yummy treats. Well, around 3 all of that changed, he became comfortable in his own skin and he's back to being a good dog around everyone again. Please tell me that your boy is still intact? If not what age did you neuter him?

2. A month might seem like a long time to get comfortable but it's not. Add to that if he hasn't been comfortable and your parents have been constantly having people over then that's just a bad situation.

3. As others said, he can feel your stress and that you're upset. You need time to deal with your new life, he needs time to deal with your new life, everyone needs time to adjust.

If your parents have any friends that are familiar with dogs I'd see if they can come over. Give them super high value treats like steak or chicken and let him meet them. Make sure when he comes in the room that they are looking down and away from him but holding a treat out in their hand. Soothe him with a calming voice and slowly walk him up to them. Feel his tension through the leash. If he's still out of control then see if you can put him in another room where he can see the guests and see if he eventually calms down. If he does try again. When you have success BIG PRAISE, like throw a party type of praise and treats!

Good luck.
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